BURIED (2010) - review
Director - Rodrigo Cortes
Runtime - 95 mins
Genre - Thriller
"Wait…wait…how do you know my name?"
Opening on a black screen we hear a man waking up in the dark, breathing heavily. Confused. Afraid. Blind. I awaited the obvious introduction of light to the picture any second. And waited. And waited. And began to smile upon realising the director wasn’t gonna sugarcoat his audience but instead treat them intelligently, making them listen to the screen a while longer before introducing us to his protagonist’s predicament. I realised immediately it was evident i was gonna enjoy this picture a whole lot.
A highly claustrophobic thriller with one sole actor on screen for the ninety so minutes runtime - it is this concept of taking place entirely within the confines of the box - that is probably the reason for it’s genius. Relatively newbie director - Rodrigo Cortes - handles the tension extremely well, playing with the conventions of this kinda genre and squeezing out of Ryan Reynolds his best performance to date. Only occasionally does the director play with the rules of physical reality - as in pulling the camera back further and further, either up high or to the side - seeing Reynolds lying in the box, earth all around him. Obviously for me these never upset the flow of the movie as it was for cinematic effect only and all the better for it. Mostly however, we stay within the confines of the box squashed in with Reynolds in numerous close ups, shot on film giving it a real sharp and good looking feel even though i’m a big supporter of HD. Also the use of light was very clever - starting with a lighter, then the blue from a phone screen, then a glow stick, etc - a really neat way to make the colour palette change throughout but in a clever ingenious way.
The various voices on the other end of the mobile phone were done in such a way that made you really care about Reynold’s plight while at the same time offering either light comedic relief or a way to open the movie out from six feet under. The conversation he has to endure with his mother in law probably being the highlight. Genuine, amusing and authentic.
And yeah ok, this kinda thing has been done before - most notably by Tarantino in CSI and KILL BILL - but all that doesn’t matter ‘cos we are taken somewhere new and entertainingly fresh by Cortes. And Ryan Reynolds delivers and then some. Now i never been much of a fan of his, just ‘cos all the stuff he had been doing was rom com shite or really bad comedies. But when i heard he had been cast in this i got to be very intrigued as to how it would all turn out and what kinda performance we’d get out of him. Impressed i was. (As Yoda would say). Along with this movie and his superhero turn in PAPER MAN - gotta say I’m now digging the Reynolds a whole lot more. Good on ya man…respect is due.
One thing i don’t quite get though is just where all the budget went. Apparently a 15 mill movie - it was one actor and a box in a studio. How the fuck can that cost so much? Very weird but still. Doesn’t change my enjoyment one bit. And as it entered it’s third act and everything was coming to a head and not knowing anything about what might be round the next corner, i found myself becoming more and more engrossed in the situation and really questioning whether he was gonna survive and be rescued in time. Various sequences throughout worked really well - but overall the final 15 minutes were basically spot on edge of your seat cinema. Thrilling, immersive, tense and highly entertaining with no cop out bullshit ending.
A tie between telling his mother in law to fuck off and the final few minutes as realisation of his destiny comes to the fore.